For many Jews, the fact that Albert Einstein was Jewish is a point of pride. But what do we know about his Jewish self-identification? And how many folks out there could claim to have a basic understanding of his General Theory of Relativity? In Einstein: His Space and Time, biographer Steven Gimbel tackles these and other fundamental aspects of Einstein’s life and work. Gimbel is chairman of the philosophy department at Gettysburg College. He spoke with Vox Tablet host Sara Ivry about Einstein’s religious period (it came to an abrupt end when he discovered geometry at age 10), his clashes with all forms of authority, and his love of Israel, which fit uneasily with his profound distrust of nationalism. Gimbel also lays out the basic tenets of Einstein’s achievements in physics in terms that will make even science-phobes comfortable.
Photo: Library of Congress